Deanna McCollum Photography » Wedding & Portrait Photographer in Victoria B.C.

Masthead header

Photographer Underwater

My husband and I have recently taken up scuba diving. It is HARD work here on the west coast. Drysuits and polar fleece underwear that leave you feeling like an astronaut are just the start. Add in another 70 lbs of gear and lead to carry on your back (that’s more than half my body weight!) a few hundred metres before you even get into the water. Then there is the shock of putting your face in 7C (45F) water. And then you have to carry it back out when you are done the dive. We did this three times this weekend during a course we are taking. I am completely exhausted today. But it was so worth it! We saw and experienced some amazing things. Like a small ling cod all up in my face when I got too close to her eggs, or a starfish thingy that walked along the bottom like an octopus. The colour and life here are incredible.

Part of our course included a photography dive. Now one of the keys to a great image is keeping it sharp. The way to do that is to plant your feet firmly, hold the camera perfectly still in both hands, hold your breath and gently squeeze the shutter release. The number one rule in scuba is NEVER hold your breath. Ever. Nasty things happen. Plus you should never stand the sea floor. It destroys life. So you have to hover, bobbing with the current and your own breath. And if you kick, you stir up the bottom, flicking up silt, which messes with visibility. Particulate everywhere that reflects your light and ruins with your picture. Getting a good image under water is super hard!

But I got one. Before the photo dive, I told Cliff that if we saw an anemone, I wanted it back lit. I found one. Cliff was amazing! I didn’t even have to motion to him.  He came around the back and to the side, and shone his dive light on it while I tipped sideways with my feet slightly above my head, braced myself with one hand on a rock, the camera in the other while s-l-o-w-l-y exhaling to take the image. Anemone at McKenzie Bight

Not perfect composition; I would have liked a bit more room at the top. But I’m happy with it. Because underwater photography is HARD. I can’t wait until next weekend when we go to a wall full of these beautiful creatures.